Alterations in the reptilian fauna of Serbia: Introduction of exotic and anthropogenic range expansion of native species
© Oesterreichische Gesellschaft fuer Herpetologie
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This study describes cases of introductions of exotic species and range expansion of native species in Serbia. The four most important introductions are the alien, invasive Trachemys scripta elegans and native Testudo hermanni, Mediodactylus kotschyi and Podarcis muralis which expanded their ranges. Trachemys scripta elegans should be of special concern, since introductions of this species can have numerous negative effects on local ecosystems. Incidental introductions were documented for two alien (Pelodiscus sp. and Hemidactylus turcicus) and two native species (Podarcis tauricus and Vipera ammodytes). The greatest number of introductions is concentrated around urban areas, especially around the cities of Belgrade and novi Sad. Increased traffic, trading and cargo shipment, as well as a large number of people who keep exotic animals as pets, make large urban areas susceptible to accidental and deliberate introductions of amphibians and reptiles. on the other hand, anthropogenic alteration and degradation of habitats, along with increased urbanization, can provide corridors for the range expansion of native species.